Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Well, today as you know, was the day that Apple Records were due to release the entire Beatles album catalogue in glorious remastered sound. And of course, I had to attend the festivities. (i.e., buy some albums!) Just yesterday I sent off about $200 for a new scanner, which I've needed for a while now, so my finances were a little short. But I did have enough to buy my two favorite albums, The Beatles first one and their last one. I speak of course about Please Please Me and Abbey Road. Please Please Me was their first album, which they recorded in a day and Abbey Road was the last album they recorded together. Apple was also releasing the new Beatles Rock Band game, which I'm not really interested in. I'm already in a real rock and roll band, you see!
The first thing that greeted me upon entering into the store was.... The Beatles themselves! It was great to see them again, even if it was only in a poster advertising their new game.
Moving on to more important things, (at least to me, anyway!) were the actual audio recordings of The Beatles, what in my younger days used to be called "albums." This particular store devoted an entire end cap to display their remastered albums and you could find all of them but two. The White Album, which is a double album and The Past Masters, Volumes 1 and 2 which is now also a double album, were back on the shelf, along with some copies of "1," their greatest hits collection. I knew how much they were and how much I had to spend, so I had selected the two I would be able to afford before I even left the house. I oogled at the display, (a lot!), got some pictures so I could blog about the experience, and then selected my two albums. I paid for them in the electronics department and then I was on my way.
Outside in the parking lot, I couldn't resist taking a picture of the two latest additions to my Beatles Record Collection. I have all of their original albums, sometimes in almost every format they were released, and even the cd copies of the albums that were released in 1987. After I got my pictures of the new albums, I hurried back home so I could listen to them. Starting with their first release, (naturally!), I was amazed at how clear everything sounded! Especially their voices! Let me just say that these new discs are worth every penny, so now is the time to get those Beatles songs you always meant to get! (If you don't already own some of the older ones!) As I type this, I am preparing to be assaulted by the sound experience that will be Abbey Road in all it's remastered glory, so I'll just say goodbye for now. You say hello, but I say goodbye. (To listen to more music!) Remember.... all you really need is love!
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
This is the street where I live in Norris City. By combining three differently exposed images of the same exact scene, the HDR software, which in this case is Adobe Photoshop CS2, combines the three images and choosed the best exposure settings for each specific spot in the picture. It lightens up the darkest areas and tones down the sky, which almost always has blown highlights in the lightest of places, and melds them together in such a way that everything looks perfectly exposed. I don't know how it does, but it does.
I also found out that there is a similar process that results in finished images looking the same way, but you start with only one original image. It's called Tone Mapping. Say you have one good exposure of something and want to improve different areas of it. You can take that one photo in your photo-editing software and make 3 different exposures which bring out the darkest, medium and lightest areas to best effect. By then combining them back together using the HDR software, you still get an image with loads of detail in all areas. The picture below was one I was pretty happy with as far as the exposure settings went:
And here is that same picture - which I thought had lost some detail in the darkest and most washed out places - after being subjected to the Tone Mapping process using the HDR software:
Pretty neat, huh?
Here are some of my other pictures I have Tone Mapped and you just wouldn't believe the improvement over the original digital file!
All in all, I'd say if you haven't tried this process yet, you need to look into it. The difference it can make in what you thought was an old, lifeless image can be startling!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
I will be spotlighting various animated characters that I think are drawn to be fabulous cartoon babes. The first one is from the 2000 movie The Road To El Dorado. Two adventurers during 16th century acquire a map supposedly leading to the fabled golden city of El Dorado. Through a couple mishaps and adventurous turns, they do indeed end up at the doorstep of El Dorado. There they meet one of the native Mayan women who helps them with their charade of pretending to be gods. Her name is Chel and she is voiced by Rosie Perez. With Rosie Perez fleshing out how the character sounds and acts, the animators did their part in the "fleshalization" of Chel. She is truly something to look at and in every since of the word, a "babe!" Enjoy this full-length portrait of her below and if you can find the movie, buy it. It's a great one to watch over and over! I've added it to my personal dvd collection and have watched it at least a half-dozen times or more - it's that engrossing of an adventure/comedy flick! I also just found out that it was inspired by all those "road movies" of the 1940's that Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour starred in. You remember, The Road To Zanzibar, The Road To Morocco, etc.?
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
You'll all remember how lightning struck my computer a couple weeks back and I had to buy a new one. Well, my car had "issues" and it had to be taken into the shop for repairs. It's supposed to be around the tune of $700. (Not my favorite tune, mind you!) They were okay with me paying half tomorrow (when it's supposed to be finished), and the rest in a week or so. Well, today I find that I lost my job and I get my car insurance statement which will be due at the end of this month. Will it never end!?
Friday, May 29, 2009
Yes, I like the outdoors. If I didn't have a computer, I would probably be out most of the time. (But, it's hard to see a monitor in the bright sunlight!) Ever since I was a little boy, being out too long in the sun would cause my dark brown hair to get blonde streaks in it. Now, the picture above shows me as being totally blonde, but that's not because of the sun. I wanted to try something different and had my hair bleached that color. Don't be afraid to try something you want to do in your life just because you think people might laugh at you. What you think in your heart means much more than what other's think is best for you.
Ah.... the good life. That's me yachting in the above picture. It was the first and, so far, only time I've gotten to be on an honest-to-goodness expensive yacht. (It wasn't mine, either!) I've never even been able to buy a bass boat. But, that hasn't mattered in my life. I have my family and friends, I work hard and I like to think that I live my life like it means it's worth something. I try to contribute to the human race in my own way and make it a better place when I can. Yes, that was me playing my guitar for free in a nursing home to entertain the residents the other day. Yes, that was me noticing that the clerk had given me too much change for what I had purchased and taking it back in the store to give it back and make sure she didn't come up shorthanded at the end of her workday. And, yes that was me assisting a car accident victim because nobody else was around.
Hank Williams, Jr. sang years ago, "We can skin a buck, we can run a trout line, and a country boy can survive." Now, I wasn't born and raised in the country, but I've spent lots of time out there enjoying it. The above picture shows me in my "Great White Hunter" mode. When I go camping, I do it right. I carry in my tent and sleeping bag, pots and pans, hunting knife and utensils and my rifle. I have meat for supper if the hunt goes well. But, whatever I shoot, I know how to clean it, cook it and eat it. The early pioneers used to live or die while using these same techniques. They survived if they took these methods to heart and died when they didn't. True, there were Indians and other natural dangers they had to contend with, but we have just as many hazards, if not more, to contend with these days. Have you ever been stranded in your car in certain sections of Chicago? You don't want to do that. Have you ever seen a cop trying to plant drugs in your car so that he can have something to arrest you for? Not a pleasant experience. But, whatever life has to throw at you, just try to be prepared for it and your chances of survival will go up greatly. Previous posts on this blog about Survival Kits, Emergency Cooking, Disaster Preparedness and Earthquake Safety Tips can be found at the highlighted links. You can bet that me and my family will be better off than most people if anything should happen here in America. Don't let you or the ones you love down in a crisis - be prepared!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Does it look familiar? Oh, no.... now the State Police are gonna start profiling me as a terrorist!
Monday, May 4, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Here is one of the many trucks that would line up with the asphalt mixture dumping it into some kind of conveyor machine on wheels. The conveyor would place it into the actual vehicle that would spread it on the road in a fairly smooth coat.
Those trucks would really raise their beds high into the sky to make sure all of that sticky, black stuff would come out!
Here you can see the conveyor machine dumping the black substance into the asphalt-spreading machine. It chewed up and spit out this mixture at a pretty fast clip and therefore had to keep being filled.
Here is the process as it moved down the road. In this shot, they are moving from the right to my left.
This is a shot of the machine that put the asphalt down. A couple guys rode on the back of it - I presume to see that it kept going in a straight line.
Another view of the conveyor machine filling up the asphalt hopper.
Once the asphalt was laid down, it looked pretty smooth to my eyes. But....
They had two heavy rollers following along behind, pounding it down even smoother and more compact.
Here is a close-up of one of the rollers. Of the two, you could feel this one coming blocks away because it had "oscillating action."
It said "oscillation" right on the side of it and felt like an earthquake when this thing went by. And trust me, I know what earthquakes feel like!
Both rolling machines were driven by women and as I took pictures, this one asked as she drove by, "Are those pictures going to be on the internet?" She had driven on past before I could answer, "Well.... maybe!" I wonder if she's single?
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Above you will see a fine Porsche 911 Turbo cast in 1:64 scale, made by Tomica. Below, you will a pretty good copy of the same exotic car, only this one was made by Welly.
Here's an ambulance model made by Hot Wheels, called an "American Ambulance." Below you will see an almost identical copy, even down to the tampo design, made by Maisto. You tell me, was this intentional or not?
This is the Deora, made by Mattel in 1968. Below you can see a copy of it from Argentina. It was made by a company called Muky, and as far as I can tell, they named it "Furgon."
Pretty similar, eh? If you like copies, some of them are quite well made and sport features sometimes not found on the original versions. So, keep your eyes open as they "send in the clones."